Between Canterbury and the Thames lies a wonderful landscape that includes some of England’s largest woodland complexes, The Blean and the eastern reaches of north Kent’s amazing marshes. A grant of £1,884,900 was awarded in 2020 by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund to the RSPB, Kent Wildlife Trust and Canterbury City Council to tackle the drying effect of climate change on this landscape and mitigate the impact on wildlife.
Works at Seasalter Levels were the culmination of over 20 years of planning and partnership working to restore this Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) into an outstanding wetland nature reserve. Interventions facilitated the restoration of 228ha of wetlands, whilst supporting species including breeding waders, wintering waterfowl, grasshopper, warblers and rare invertebrates.
Blean Woods is one of the few places in the UK where the rare heath fritillary butterfly remains. The Blean Woods re-wetting project delivered hydrological infrastructure, such as leaky dams to reduce loss of water and create better, wetter habitats for woodland specialist breeding birds and invertebrates. The project also included community volunteering to increase local engagement with the development of the site and a bog restoration project.
Wraik Hill Nature Reserve was enhanced by the implementation of new fencing, pond clearance, accessibility improvements, scrub removal and new interpretation, allowing the reserve to reach its full potential.
This programme of restoration and practical conservation measures, involving surrounding communities delivered at a landscape scale. The project has built climate change resilience into these sites, creating sustainable habitats for a range of wildlife and beautiful places for people to visit.